2008 Nissan Frontier Review
2008 Nissan Frontier Review
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Used Frontier for sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Well-tuned chassis and ample ground clearance assure excellent off-road capability, muscular V6, good highway ride, spacious interior, innovative bed features.
- Interior heavy on hard plastics, regular-cab body style not available, options packages get automatically lumped together.
A slew of option packages and new equipment debuts for the 2008 Nissan Frontier. Most notable is the Technology Package, which includes an upgraded sound system, an auxiliary audio jack, Bluetooth, satellite radio and a security system.
The 2008 Nissan Frontier is a top pick in the midsize pickup class thanks to its rugged chassis, brawny drivetrain and long list of useful features.
Sometimes you don't need the maximum. Whether it's ordering a Triple Whopper with Cheese or going quail hunting with a full-auto 12 gauge, sometimes the biggest choice is overkill. Along those lines, not everyone who needs a pickup truck needs a titanic full-size model. Something more maneuverable and fuel-efficient with less hauling and towing capacity is more appropriate. The 2008 Nissan Frontier is one of the top choices in the compact pickup class, although with a maximum length of 18 feet, compact isn't exactly the most apt term anymore.
Like most trucks, the Frontier is available in a variety of different body styles and trim packages designed to give its diverse group of buyers an almost endless supply of choices. Whether you're a contractor in need of a work truck or a suburban-bound family man, there's a Frontier for you. The most basic model difference involves the King Cab (an extended cab with rear-hinged access doors) and the Crew Cab, which better tackles passenger-hauling duties. To compensate for the Crew Cab chewing into bed length, Nissan offers the King Cab's 6-foot bed as an option to maintain the truck's hauling abilities. Plus, Nissan offers a unique bed feature known as Utili-track for securing cargo.
With abundant power, smart features and a rugged disposition, the V6-equipped Nissan Frontier places at the top of its class. There are some downsides, though. Interior materials could be better and optional packages are often grouped together, raising the price precipitously. You'll want to check out the Frontier's chief rival, the Toyota Tacoma, during your shopping process, though we've found that Nissan's small pickup provides a more forgiving drive on pavement and a more functional interior. If buying a full-size pickup seems like overkill to you, the 2008 Nissan Frontier is the best not-so-compact alternative.
Performance & mpg
The Frontier XE and SE come standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 152 horsepower and 171 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual is standard with that engine, while a five-speed automatic is optional on the SE. Optional on the SE and standard on the LE and Nismo models is a 4.0-liter V6 that makes 261 hp and 281 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed automatic is standard on the LE and Nismo trim levels. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on the SE V6 and optional on the Nismo.
V6-powered Frontiers can be had with two- or four-wheel drive, while four-cylinder models are rear-wheel drive only. Properly equipped, a V6 Frontier can tow up to 6,500 pounds. Fuel economy estimates for the six-cylinder 2008 Frontier with an automatic and 2WD are 15 mpg city and 20 mpg highway.
Antilock disc brakes are standard on all 2008 Nissan Frontier models. Optional on all models are front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Additionally, Frontier LE and Nismo buyers can opt for the Traction Package, which provides stability control, hill-start assist and hill-descent control.
In government crash testing, the Frontier earned four out of five stars for driver and front passenger protection in frontal impacts. In side-impact crash tests, it received a perfect five stars for both front and rear-seat occupants. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety frontal-offset crash tests resulted in a "Good" rating (the highest possible) for occupant protection.
As you'd expect, acceleration is no more than adequate in the XE and base SE model, making it a decent choice only for those who need a low-cost, light-duty work truck. It's quite a different story with the V6-equipped Frontier, however. Step on the throttle and the 4.0-liter V6 comes through with plenty of low-end torque, and the automatic transmission delivers perfectly timed shifts whether you're maneuvering in traffic or flinging the truck around in the sand. Ride quality on pavement is surprisingly good for a compact/midsize pickup truck, and the steering is tight and communicative. All Nissan Frontier 4x4s are capable off-road, thanks to a maximum 10.1 inches of ground clearance and plenty of suspension travel, although the more specialized Nismo model is the best choice for off-roaders.
Slide into the 2008 Nissan Frontier King Cab and you'll find fold-up jump seats and reverse-opening doors. The crew cab has a larger cabin with fully usable rear-seat accommodations (that also fold up) and conventional rear doors that offer easier access to those seats. The roomy cabins offer straightforward controls, comfortable front seats and an attractive design, though excessive use of hard plastic detracts from the overall look.
The Frontier's utility bed package includes a factory-applied spray-on bedliner and the "Utili-track" tie-down system. The tie-down system provides extra cargo-hauling flexibility through the use of five special "C" cross-section rails mounted in the bed (two channels in the bed floor, and one each on the bed side rails and the bed header panel). Removable utility cleats slide into the channels to provide a wide range of attachment points for securing cargo. In addition to the tie-down cleats, a full range of accessories are offered for use with the channel system, including bed dividers, sliding cargo trays, modular storage units and bike racks.
2008 Nissan Frontier models
The 2008 Nissan Frontier is a compact-class pickup truck available in two body styles: extended cab (known as a King Cab) and a crew cab. The King Cab is available in XE, SE, LE and Nismo trim packages, while the Crew Cab comes in all but base XE. King Cabs come with a 6-foot bed. Crew Cabs have a standard 5-foot bed, but a 6-foot bed is also available on SE and LE models.
The XE is bare bones with only a few features that include 15-inch steel wheels, front bucket seats and cloth upholstery, while the XE Preferred Package adds a CD stereo system and air-conditioning. The SE adds 16-inch steel wheels, a sliding rear window, air-conditioning and a four-speaker CD audio system. Bunched into a pair of packages (one for four-cylinder models, the other for V6 models), the SE's options include 16-inch alloy wheels, full power accessories, cruise control, two- or four-wheel limited slip differential, a bed extender and keyless entry.
The Nismo and LE trim levels include most of the SE's optional equipment. Both add foglights, Utili-track bed channel system, factory spray-on bedliner and leather-wrapped steering wheel. The LE differs by having 17-inch wheels, side step rails and eight-way power driver seat, while the Nismo sets itself apart with an electronic locking rear differential, Bilstein off-road shock absorbers, special tires and skid plates. The LE/Nismo Traction Package adds stability control, hill-start assist, hill-descent control and a four-wheel limited slip differential (standard on Nismo).
The Technology Package (available on the Frontier LE and Nismo) includes Bluetooth, steering-wheel audio controls, an auxiliary audio jack, satellite radio, an in-dash six-CD/MP3 changer, and with the Crew Cab, a Rockford Fosgate 10-speaker sound system with a subwoofer. On LE Crew Cab models, the Technology Package must be ordered with the Leather Package (leather upholstery, power passenger seat and heated front seats) and a package that includes a sunroof and additional airbags. The sunroof and airbags are split into separate packages on the Nismo, but the sunroof still must be ordered with the Technology Package. The options packages are more easily ordered separately with the King Cab.
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
4.63 out of 5 stars
SE 4dr Crew Cab 6.1 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 6M)
I was all about getting a Toyota Tacoma, drove several and liked the raised suspension, but the ride itself wasn't that strong. After I tested a Frontier, I was sold. Off-the-line pickup in this V6 reminds you of a V8. Have yet to tow anything, but have used the bed for hauling heavy furniture and haven't noticed a change in the way it drives. There seems to be a strong dislike of the … interior, but in my opinion, its a truck, and I'm not expecting anything fancy. Very fun to drive, and even though I live in a big city, its not too hard to get around. Like previous reviews, the turning radius leaves much to be desired, but overall, I love this truck.
4.88 out of 5 stars
LOVE this truck!
SE 4dr Crew Cab 5.0 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
I ABSOLUTELY love this truck! I have the '08 4.0L V6 4x4 Frontier and think it's a great truck for it's size. I bought it "new" (it had 1 owner before me who bought it from the dealership new, didn't make a payment on it, and had it repossessed 6months after buying it...the truck hit 2k miles on my test drive), and have put 28k miles on it in just the last year and a half. It drives like … a car, but can act like a truck. I use it off roads and it's reliable, handles well, and climbs obstacles. On the road, it's quiet, acceleration picks up really quickly, and steering is perfect. Not super tight, but definitely not loose. Turn radius is great and 4WD doesn't compromise it at all.
4.88 out of 5 stars
Very nice truck
SE 4dr Crew Cab 4WD 5.0 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
I purchased my 2008 Frontier used with 32,000 miles on it(one owner). The truck is great, turning radius sucks and I wish they included fog lights as standard equipment on the Frontier. I've had Toyota's and Nissan's and both are very reliable trucks. But this time it was all about price. I love this Frontier, the way it rides, the looks of it!
4.88 out of 5 stars
Nismo 4dr King Cab 4WD 6.1 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 6M)
I purchased this truck based on the reliability of my older Nissan 4X4 pickup which I purchased new in 1984 and which still runs well. This '08 vehicle is solidly built and engineered to accommodate the demands of a truck which is used for work both on the highway and off-road. Shifting is exceptionally smooth and power from the V-6 is plentiful. Excellent handling on mountainous … terrain and in winter weather. Interior features are accessible and comfortable for +6ft. passengers. Rear Jump seats not designed for long-haul comfort but space is useful for stowing items needing protection from the weather. Fuel economy has been 21 mpg highway driving. Utilitrack system a big plus.
Features & Specs
NHTSA Overall Rating
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverallNot RatedDriver4 / 5Passenger4 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverallNot Rated
- Side Barrier RatingOverallNot RatedDriver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront SeatNot RatedBack SeatNot Rated
- RolloverRollover3 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of RolloverNot Rated
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Side Impact TestNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestNot Tested
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintPoor
- IIHS Small Overlap Front TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front TestGood
More about the 2008 Nissan Frontier
Used 2008 Nissan Frontier Overview
The Used 2008 Nissan Frontier is offered in the following submodels: Frontier Crew Cab, Frontier King Cab. Available styles include SE 4dr Crew Cab 5.0 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A), XE 4dr King Cab 6.1 ft. SB (2.5L 4cyl 5M), SE 4dr King Cab 6.1 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A), SE 4dr Crew Cab 4WD 5.0 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A), SE 4dr King Cab 4WD 6.1 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A), LE 4dr Crew Cab 5.0 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A), SE 4dr Crew Cab 6.1 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A), LE 4dr Crew Cab 4WD 5.0 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A), SE 4dr King Cab 6.1 ft. SB (2.5L 4cyl 5M), Nismo 4dr Crew Cab 4WD 5.0 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A), Nismo 4dr Crew Cab 5.0 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A), SE 4dr King Cab 4WD 6.1 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 6M), SE 4dr Crew Cab 4WD 6.1 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A), SE 4dr King Cab 6.1 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 6M), LE 4dr Crew Cab 6.1 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A), LE 4dr Crew Cab 4WD 6.1 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A), SE 4dr Crew Cab 5.0 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 6M), Nismo 4dr King Cab 4WD 6.1 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 6M), SE 4dr King Cab 6.1 ft. SB (2.5L 4cyl 5A), Nismo 4dr King Cab 6.1 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A), Nismo 4dr King Cab 4WD 6.1 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A), SE 4dr Crew Cab 4WD 5.0 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 6M), LE 4dr King Cab 4WD 6.1 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A), SE 4dr Crew Cab 6.1 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 6M), SE 4dr Crew Cab 4WD 6.1 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 6M), and LE 4dr King Cab 6.1 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A). Pre-owned Nissan Frontier models are available with a 4.0 L-liter gas engine or a 2.5 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 261 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2008 Nissan Frontier comes with rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed automatic, 5-speed manual. The Used 2008 Nissan Frontier comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. powertrain warranty.
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Should I lease or buy a 2008 Nissan Frontier?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.